A classroom at one of the Peter McVerry Trust's learning centers
By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish Boston-based American Partnership, in association with the Peter McVerry Trust, has announced a philanthropic partnership to develop a comprehensive educational program aimed at the prevention and alleviation of homelessness in Ireland.
The $1 million investment was announced during the Partnership’s annual Nollaig na mBan [Women’s Christmas] Women’s Leadership Celebration and greeted by the commendation of honorees, seventh President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, Samantha Barry, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, and National Broadcast Journalist with RTÉ, Caitríona Perry.
The partnership’s $1 million investment will build upon the success of previous partnerships with regard to educational homelessness prevention initiatives, said a relese.
The investment, added the release, was made possible by Partnership support, particularly from Partnership Chairman and Founder of national general contractor Clune Construction Company, Michael T. Clune, and his secondary school friend Irish businessman and financier, Dermot Desmond.
“I have been associated with this wonderful organization for over twenty years, and working with the Partnership team I have seen firsthand the benefits of the educational programs that we have supported in Ireland,” said Mr. Clune.
“The Peter McVerry Trust is one of the most respected organizations in Ireland supporting the homeless and they have done wonderful work over the years.”
According to the release, the central aim is to expand and enhance Peter McVerry Trust’s educational offerings for homeless and at-risk youth, and help the charity meet the increased demand for their essential services as a result of COVID-19 and an ongoing homeless crisis.
Specifically, the investment will provide underprivileged young people (aged 13-17) who have been removed from mainstream schools with a high quality of education, equipping them with life skills to play a positive role in society through Peter McVerry Trust’s learning centers in Lucan and South Inner City Dublin.
Acquired by the Peter McVerry Trust in 2019, the learning centers work with young people - the majority of which have been excluded from mainstream school systems via expulsion - to support them to obtain their Junior Certificate, with the ultimate goal of returning to mainstream classrooms.
The centers aim to meet the need for supportive school environments that respond to the holistic and learning needs of children and young people by not only offering academic supports with small student-to-teacher ratios, but social emotional supports through the provision of social and mental health services as well.
“The Partnership is privileged to announce this grant to the Peter McVerry Trust,” said IAP CEO, Mary Sugrue.
"The McVerry Trust is a perfect partner. As a leading charity addressing homelessness, they share in our mission to build a more inclusive and equitable Ireland through education.”
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “We are extremely grateful to the Irish American Partnership for their support, particularly given the extremely challenging time that NGOs face due to the impact on fundraising income due to Covid-19.
"I am delighted that the Partnership are supporting our work in the education sphere, an area which is of huge importance to young people with stronger educational supports ultimately improving outcomes and reducing the risk of homelessness in later years."
Continued the release: "Targeted investment in education is a crucial aspect of homelessness prevention, particularly among vulnerable children. Peter McVerry Trust prioritizes early stage prevention and intervention. Given the young age and length of time people will engage with the education system, it is the best opportunity to positively impact on the life outcomes for people. That is particularly true for those who may be more vulnerable or likely to experience homelessness due to their life circumstances.
"As a leading transatlantic educational charity, the Irish American Partnership is in an ideal position to make an immediate and transformative impact in this area. The Peter McVerry Trust is a perfect partner in this joint effort, as the Trust has had a long-standing policy of working with disadvantaged youth.
"The Partnership Peter McVerry Trust joint initiative is critical to achieving their shared vision for Ireland’s future - one where all children prosper, have access to the education system, have future personal success, and have an equal and meaningful opportunity to participate in Irish society."